Category: By the bug

"Matisyahu's guitarist Aaron Dugan describes his background as coming out of John Coltrane and Sonic Youth. Here he's playing assertive noise guitar with a backbone of granite lyricism against Jeff Arnal's hard-as-nails drumming. The music is so compacted and diligently controlled that its 45 minute duration feels longer, as improvisations flat-pack themselves down to essentials. Interstellar Space is perhaps the obvious model, Dugan and Arnal learning from Coltrane and Rashied Ali's exquisite ear for tersely disciplined structuring and note changes. Dugan's melodic language is broad enough to add naked prime melodic intervals to the expected walls of white noise. The first track begins with a flood of activity from Arnal's kit. Then a brief pause before Dugan's gnarly guitar makes its presence felt. But in a neat reversal of the standard ploy on piling more layers on top, Dugan refocuses his energy by stripping everything down to octave tremolos before rebuilding. Arnal's kit brightly tuned and his punky gestures push belligerently against the grain. Among the displays of high energy there are more sober moments. "Pisco" is assembled from pointillistic splashes that sound intriguingly non-intentioned; later spectra of guitar distortion and bowed cymbal fuse into a relaxed continuum. For the penultimate track, "Paz", Dugan gropes a melodic line noisily in the ribs. So much of Dog Day is perched between harmony and noise that this is a logical place for the album to end up." Philip Clark, the Wire, UK

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